In the meantime, he continues to nurture Velocity's eight directors, in addition to four directors from new partner Freshwater Films, which will operate as part of the Velocity group under its own name. While Rose remains a strong presence in the field and won several local awards at the Loeries in October for his work for Sasol milk, Greg Grey recently directed a high-profile spot for BMW out of Fallon that hypes its iPod connectivity, shot on a tight budget in Johannesburg. Set in a parking garage, "Back Seat" shows artists piling into the back of a BMW like clowns at the circus, then reflected in the rear-view mirror as the driver switches from rock to motown to mariachi music. Rose's recent collaboration on Nutrigrain spots for Leo Burnett/Chicago shows suited commuters on their "morning marathon," running en masse across a bridge and through streets. Both projects came together through Velocity's partnership with Crossroads in the U.S., Velocity@Crossroads. Michael Feteke, producer at Velocity@Crossroads, says, "From a marketing point of view, this partnership has allowed both Velocity and Crossroads to deepen and broaden their directorial pools. The South African reels are highly visual in style and rich in creative which allows us to target key accounts."
While many talented directors tend to leave South Africa for the U.S. and Europe, Munchick says that helping directors develop can be mutually beneficial. "The guys who like what we do stay, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy," he says. "We're trying to train one good director a year. [Freshwater director] Slim is our guy for this year, and I'm looking for someone to keep the blood fresh for next year." Munchik also points to Mickey Madoda Dube and Thabo Marera as bright lights on the indigenous local talent roster.
"I think nowadays that most savvy producers understand that it's not just the bottom line that drives better production, it's getting good crews," Munchick says. " I think a lot of people last year went to South America, and had good experiences, but there are a lot of things that South Africa has that South America doesn't have. It's getting the kind of equipment that you want, having local infrastructures and having people who speak English."